No. 23 USF Set for Road Test at Winona State
Unbeaten and 23rd ranked Sioux Falls (5-0) heads north Saturday, October 6 to challenge Winona State University (4-1) at Verizon Wireless Field in Winona, Minn. Surprisingly, it will be the first ever meeting between USF and WSU on the gridiron. Together, the two teams account for nine victories and just one loss. Both squads look to extend their win streaks and move to 2-0 in the NSIC South.
For a full version of this week's notes, career updates, Winona's notes or the NSIC weekly release, please see the related links box.
Live Stream: Winona State will provide a free live stream of Saturday's NSIC South matchup at http://nmtvsports.com
Radio: KWSN (AM 1230) will air Saturday's game. Player interviews and the Jed Stugart pregame show airs 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Tom Frederick and Tim Hiatt will team up to call the play-by-play.
Links to live audio, stats and video stream can be found online on the football schedule here
First and 10
• Dating back to last season, USF has come out victorious in nine of their last 10 outings.
• The Cougars begin the season 5-0 for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
• USF jumped two spots in this week's poll to be ranked No. 23 in both the AFCA and D2.com Top 25
• With a win at Winona State, USF head coach Jed Stugart tie with David Schroeder for the third-highest win total in program history
• Last week, Braden Wieking made the longest field goal in USF history, a 54-yarder, and tied TC Fraser (44) for USF's all-time leader in career field goals made. Next one makes him the outright leader.
• USF and Minnesota State University-Mankato are the last of the undefeated in the NSIC
• WSU is USF's second opponent with a winning record.
• Senior QB Taylor Perkins has thrown at least one TD pass in nine consecutive games, a period in which USF has gone 8-1.
• It's been 20 games since USF allowed a single 100-yard rusher.
• Winona is racking up a conference-best 464.6 yards per game to average 38.6 points (2nd-NSIC), however they are giving up 391.4 yards and 28.2 points to their opposition.
Week Two Recap (USF vs. SMSU)
USF outscored Southwest Minnesota State 21-6 in the fourth quarter to record a 41-22 win at home and move to 5-0 on the year. USF racked up a season-high 536 yards of total offense, while giving up 423 yards, which was also a season-high. The Coo defense tallied three additional takeaways (2 Ints, 1 FF) and six TFLs.
Braden Wieking nailed set a USF record with a 54-yard field goal.
Perkins went 18-31 for 317 yards and five touchdowns, both career-highs. He also added a season-high 52 yards on the ground. Kristian Porter carried the ball 10 times for 97 yards, including a long of 49 yards.
Oates led the Cougars with five catches for 112 yards and two scores, while Carrington Hanna grabbed four receptions for 76 yards and two touches. Kendrick Celestine recorded his first receiving TD as a Cougar with a 29-yard score.
Career Updates (totals)
Wieking* (44) needs one FG to become USF career-leader in FGs made... Porter* (1852 yds.) is nearing the 2,000 rushing mark following a 97-yard performance last week... Eric Anderson* (188) is closing in on 200 career tackles... Jordan Taylor (1411) approaches the 1500-yard rushing mark
Perkins' Pocket Presence
Through five weeks, Taylor Perkins has pieced together an impressive body of work. Perkins has passed for 1206 yards and 16 TDs already. He's done so in ideal fashion, completing 55.5% of his passes to mark a 152.3 efficiency rating. Maybe most impressive is he has thrown just two interceptions.
* Indicates players ranked in Top-10 of statistical categoryTurnover Margin
USF boasts 14 takeaways, including 11 interceptions, which gives them one of the nation's best turnover margins, +1.40 per game.
Stats Worth Mentioning
Through five games USF has...
- Allowed two sacks
- 43 TFL (142 yds.)
- Thrown two interceptions
- 18 Offensive plays (14 pass, 4 run) of 25 yards or more, including four of 50 plus
The Receiving End of Things
Senior WR Jeremiah Oates extended his TD streak to six games last week, giving him a career count of 18 receiving TDs in 13 games as a Cougars. He's charted two or more TDs three times in 2012, and five times in his career. With nine scores this season he has already matched his 2011 total.
Carrington Hanna and Kendrick Celestine's contributions can't be overlooked. Hanna leads USF with 28 receptions for 452 yards and seven TDs, while Celestine has nine catches for 133 yards and one TD. Combined Oates, Hanna and Celestine account for 17 of 22 TDs scored by USF this season.
Streak in Jeopardy
If there's any back in the conference that could top 100 yards vs. USF, its WSU's Rayon Simmons. One of the top RBs in the nation, he has cracked the 100-yard mark 18 times during his career. This season alone, Simmons has nearly doubled USF's top rushers (Porter, 367 yds.) total with a whopping 712 yards to date. With 4184 rushing yards, he's the Warriors career-leader and needs 285 yards to hold the NSIC's all-time rushing mark.
About Winona State
At 4-1, WSU is a proven power in the NSIC. Since 2000, head coach Tom Sawyer has led the Warriors to seven post-season berths (5 NCAA Playoffs, 2 Mineral Water Bowls) and six conference titles. WSU's only loss this season came at then-No.2 Minnesota-Duluth. They have won three straight since.
Where The Cougars Rank Nationally
As of September 24 USF ranks in the top 20 of the NCAA DII in 10 statistical categories. (complete national and conference rankings can be found on page 12)
USF returns to Sioux Falls, S.D. to host Concordia-St. Paul Saturday, October 13 at Bob Young Field. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on KDLT.